13 Best Manual Coffee Grinders / Hand Grinders in the UK

If you enjoy freshly made coffee, and you want to brew the perfect coffee you can at home, you need either a manual coffee mill or an electric burr coffee mill. This isn’t an optional piece of tool for the home Barista, it’s just as necessary as the coffee brewer or machine itself.

I’d even go so far as to say that, if you’re not going to grind your own coffee beans, there’s little point in trying to brew speciality coffee at home. This is definitely true with Espresso coffee, in my humble opinion.

There’s just no way you can get decent results with Espresso coffee with pre-ground coffee unless you’re incredibly lucky and the pre-ground coffee you buy happens to be ground to the wonderful grind for your machine, and there’s a slim chance of that.

Manual Coffee Grinders - Image of 5 of the perfect manual grinders.
Picture Credit Prima-Coffee.com

Yes, some domestic espresso machines come with pressured portafilters, which are designed to make it easier to use pre-ground coffee, but still – regardless of how you’re brewing your coffee, you’re going to get the perfect overall experience by grinding your coffee beans freshly.

Also, it’s important to understand that pressurized portafilters are shipped with entry-level espresso machines literally because they’re so much easier to work with. They’re not necessarily going to provide the best-tasting espresso. 

I tested this in the video below (before I was introduced to something discussed as a shaver) with the exact same coffee, one bag of whole beans and another bag of the exact same coffee beans pre-ground (both from Blue Coffee Box), and as you’ll see if you watch the video, I could tell the difference.

Anyway, if you’re reading this, you’re probably trying to decide which is the perfect manual grinding machine for you, you’re probably not planning on utilizing pre-ground coffee.

While we’re talking about taste, it’s important to also point out that the quality and the freshness of the coffee beans in truth matters. It amazes me when I hear from people who have spent large sums of money replacing tool to try to get better coffee but haven’t thought to just buy better quality, more freshly roasted coffee beans.

Try my coffee beans from The Coffeeworks, all extremely high quality coffee beans, and all freshly roasted – delivered with a roasted on date, so you’ll find out you’re not guzzling coffee that was roasted months ago. 

Work with discount code CBNC25 for 25% off your first order at Coffeeworks

Why Manual Coffee Grinders?

I don’t work with manual coffee grinders much these days, purely due to the reality that I suffer from RSI with both wrists. Typing, playing drums, playing guitar, making rude gestures at other motorists on the way to the studio, all take their toll.

But if you don’t suffer from problems with your wrists, there are a few reasons that a manual hand coffee grinder may be best for you.


Manual coffee grinders start at around £10-20. Electric coffee grinders start quite a little bit higher than this. 

By the way, if you see that there are electric coffee grinders for a similar price, or maybe £20-£3o, these are not coffee grinders. 

These things have blades. Blades don’t grind, they chop, slice and obliterate. This isn’t what we want to do to coffee beans if we want nice tasting coffee.

For more on electric burr grinders:

Perfect Electric Burr Coffee Grinders


Good luck trying to take an electric coffee grinder hiking ;-).

Another reason for having a manual grinder is that they’re obviously a lot more portable than powered grinders, and you can grind anywhere, with no electricity necessary, which makes them the obvious preference for grinding coffee off-grid.

For camping trips, hiking, cycling, fishing, days out on the beach, and so on, all you need is a manual mill and a source of hot water, and you have the luxury of being able to freshly brew lovely coffee via an evenly portable brewer, such as Aeropress, Oomph, Nanopresso, etc.

Shot Quality. 

As well as more bang for your buck in terms of the quality you can get at the same price point for hand coffee grinders vs powered grinders, there are lots of home Baristas who consider electric grinders to be a case of compromising quality for ease of work with. 

This is partially down to the level of quality you can get with manual vs electric, i.e. you’re not investing in a motor and other components, you’re investing 100% in the mechanics of the coffee grinder, meaning you must be getting better burrs, and other mechanical components.

It’s likewise partly down to grinding speed and the coffee beans not being heated by excessive grinding speed, which is something that the more expensive electric grinders have features to combat, such as being geared down.

Noise, or lack of. 

If you’re an early riser, or I ought to say, if you’re an earlier riser than the people you live with – grinding with an electric burr mill first thing in the morning might not make you really popular. Grinding coffee with a hand coffee mill is a much quieter affair, and is unlikely to wake anyone up. 

Unless you drop your manual grinding machine on your bare foot and scream really rude words at the top of your lungs. I’ve never done that, I did once wake up with my hand over my face though, screamed, and pushed it away with the other hand… 😉

I’m starting with the budget manual coffee grinders

There will be some folk reading this, more serious home baristas, who have no interest in the very cheapest manual coffee grinders.

If this includes you, literally scroll down a bit and you’ll get to the premium home barista manual burr coffee grinders. 

A quick note about cost. 

Simply keep in mind that when you spend more on a manual mill, you’re usually paying for better coffee, quicker coffee and a more enjoyable experience. 

If you want a cheap manual grinder for occasional utilize and mainly for coarse grinding for cafetiere for example, no problem. 

The first grinding machine in this article will probably be fine for you if this is the case, and this is probably why it’s the best selling manual mill on Amazon, as so numerous people just want a cheap mill for occasional work with. 

If you’re wanting to grind finer though, and particularly if you want to grind for espresso coffee or even finer for Turkish then you may want to consider investing a bit more, especially if you’re going to be using this grinder regularly.

If it’s only occasional work with, and especially if you’re grinding fairly coarse, going for a cheaper coffee grinder might make more sense. 

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This is among the best selling manual coffee grinders on Amazon UK, and it’s easy to see why.

I have no idea how they’ve managed to make a burr coffee grinder this cheap, but they have, and it sells like hotcakes. That’s a truly weird saying. Why would you want to buy a hot cake? Anyway, I digress.

Size & Weight:

8.64  x 18 cm. 530g

Beans Capacity:

Approx 50g, and the glass jar will hold approx 100g of ground coffee.



My Observations

There have been a couple of sellers selling a slightly different version of this, I’m not sure if it’s the exact same grinding machine, but whatever the case, it’s clearly an “echo” of the famous Hario Skerton plus, which I’ll talk about shortly – but given the reviews, it does seem to be a good copy, sorry, I mean “echo” ;-).

If you’re grinding for Cafetiere, drip, or even Aeropress since these days people are tending to grind rather a bit coarser for Aeropress, a coffee mill like this should be fine. 

If you’re wanting to grind much finer, for example for espresso, I can tell you from experience that unless you start messing around with hacks/mods, you won’t be able to get fine enough, or dial in precisely enough, with a grinder like this.

To be honest, I don’t know how they can possibly make this coffee grinder so cheap, nevertheless they do, so if you were looking for a extremely low cost coffee grinder, this may be for you.

It’s also worth pointing out here that my friends at Shop Coffee in Cambridge, sell a similar manual mill, for this and others, see:

Manual Coffee Grinders at Shop Coffee

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This is a very low-cost manual hand coffee mill. It’s really popular, as you can see by the huge number of Amazon reviews and answered questions.

Size & Weight:

17.5 x 4.8cm. 281.23 Grams

Beans Capacity:




My Observations

This is an incredibly cheap manual coffee grinder, and while it has masses of reviews, many of them extremely positive as you can see by the high overall score, I think you do need to be realistic with your expectations if you’re buying a coffee grinder at this kind of price point.

It’s unlikely you’re going to get a manual grinder of this design much cheaper than this, and for the money, I think it’s fine, but just keep in mind that with a small manual coffee mill like this with small burrs, it will take longer to grind your coffee.  

Likewise, keep in mind that the finer you’re grinding, the longer it’ll take, so if you’re going to be utilizing a manual coffee mill to grind coffee as finely as is possible, you may be spending rather a bit of time grinding, especially with one of the cheapest manual grinders like this, with smaller burrs.

If you’re grinding more coarse for things like Aeropress, filter, or cafetiere, then you may be OK – however if you’re considering manually grinding for espresso coffee, keep in mind that a little bit coffee grinder like this is likely to take upwards of 3-5 minutes to grind enough for a double shot, depending on dose and how fine you need to grind for your machine and the particular bean.

If I were you, I’d consider basically investing a little bit more cash into a grinding machine and going for among the other grinders you’ll find in this article, which starts at only £7 more than this one. 

If you’re looking for a portable coffee mill, and you’re not looking at spending any more than the region of £20-£30 (and there simply are benefits to be had by sinking a bit more cash into a manual grinding machine by the way, you’re not just paying for style or branding) my personal recommendation would be the Hario Mini Coffee mill Slim Plus, which you’ll find a little bit further down this article.

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This is probably among the a lot of famous hand coffee grinders, it’s been around a long time and is mainly well regarded among the speciality coffee community, as a ideal manual coffee mill for the money.

I have this grinder, it was my first ever coffee mill.

I still have it, it still works absolutely fine even though I abused it by attaching a cordless drill to the top of it to turn it into an electric mill, as I was getting fed up of grinding coffee beans manually ;-).

Size & Weight:

40.6 x 27.9 x 33 cm


Beans Capacity:

Around 50g (however the glass jar will fit around 100g of ground coffee)



My Observations

With this coffee grinder, these observations are from utilize combined with scientific research study, as I in fact have this hand grinder, this was the first manual mill I ever bought.

The first thing to say is that I think it’s really well built and high quality for the low cost, and it grinds well for the money.

I used this for a range of different brew processes before I got my Sage Smart Grinding machine Pro, including for Espresso – OK I wasn’t able to perfectly dial in, however it was fine as a starting point.

The instructions were in Japanese, there were no English instructions, which I remember finding a little odd, however I don’t tend to RTFM anyway, a quick look on YouTube provided me with all the info essential. 

As it comes, out of the box, Skerton is ideal for a fairly wide range of grind sizes, however if you’re literally into your cafetiere brewing you may want to look at the modifications you can make to this mill to allow you to achieve a more consistent grind size at a courser setting, such as the blue horse upgrade kit. 

The grind size adjustments are big, it’s not great for fine-tuning. As I said, I did initially utilize this for espresso coffee, nevertheless I couldn’t truly dial in – in my opinion, you’ll be OK with this grinder if you’re using pressurized baskets, if you’re utilizing traditional baskets, though, you’d be better off with a grinding machine which will go finer and which has the ability to more finely tune the grind size.

There’s a mod you can do for this, although, which is to swap out the adjustment cog for an m8 nut in order to make it stepless. For more on this, see this review on coffeegeek.com. 

There are no points of reference either when it comes to grind settings, but you can mod this too by basically drawing a line on the shaft and the adjustment cog.

Also, you could cut a marker down the nut at the zero position, if you mod it for stepless, and put a series of numbers around the shaft, to give you some points of reference when it comes to grinding again after taking it apart to clean, or dialling in for a different brew process.

The glass grinds pot is great, very sturdy, it’s unlikely you’ll break it even by dropping it, and it comes with a lid too so it doubles as coffee storage. 

By the way, the drill mod is basically straightforward if you want to work with the Skerton as an electric coffee mill on the budget of a manual grinder, see the video below, nevertheless I wouldn’t advise you utilize the high-speed setting he does in the video. 

I used this hack generally to save my wrists, as I’m prone to RSI with both of my wrists. I didn’t go mad on the speed like this guy does in the video, because I’d be concerned it would wreck the burrs and likewise produce a poor grind, as this mill isn’t brewed to grind this quickly.

I’d very advise leaving the handle on when modding it with the drill mod so you can keep an eye on how fast you’re going.

On the whole, I think the Hario Skerton is probably among the best low cost manual grinders, but you’ll probably want to mod it if you’re using it for espresso coffee, especially if you want to utilize it with standard baskets. 

I think with a little of time watching good old YouTube & a little of tinkering, the Hario Skerton is a excellent manual coffee grinder for the cash, and is capable of far more than it was probably initially designed for.

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Another coffee mill from Japanese coffee device manufacturer Hario, the Mini Grinder Slim Plus is a popular pairing with Aeropress, due to its more compact stature and lighter weight than it’s larger sibling the Hario Skerton. 

Size & Weight:

40.6 x 27.9 x 33 cm. 567g

Beans Capacity:




My Observations

This coffee mill is similar to its bigger sibling the Hario Skerton, but a little bit smaller and lighter.

It does appear to have one main advantage over the Skerton, even though, as well as portability, which is the ease of adjusting grind size, and the ease of getting back to a particular grind. So if you’re wanting to brew for various brew methods, this might be a good option for you.

The mini grinding machine has spring loaded burrs, which offers it a slight edge over the Skerton, particularly at more coarse grind settings. The Hario Skerton Pro has spring loaded burrs too and looks cool, but it’s a few quid more.

Remember, even though, no grinder will fine-tune the error of utilizing poor quality coffee beans – and now here’s another totally shameless plug for my own coffee :-).

Use discount code CBNC25 for 25% off your first order at Coffeeworks

Tiamo hand grinder slim black.

Tiamo hand coffee mill slim black.

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Size & Weight:

Approx 18 × 7.5 × 11 cm. 350g.

Beans Capacity:

25g grinding capacity, 60g capacity in the storage container.



My Observations:

Clearly a similar-looking manual coffee grinder to the Hario Mini Grinder Plus, above, but at a dramatically lower price, I’d be interested in this little coffee mill if I were looking for a manual mill on a budget.

Primarily speaking, I think you get what you pay for. The Mini Grinding machine Plus is about a tenner more, however it does weigh quite a little bit more which does give the impression that the build quality is likely to be more robust with the Hario.

If you’re on an very tight budget, although, or if you don’t want to spend much on a manual grinding machine as you’re only going to be utilizing it for a few days on a trip for example, and you don’t know when you’ll be using it again, then I can understand the idea of spending as little as you can. Personally, I’ve got into the habit over the years of not buying the cheapest option, regardless of what it is that I’m buying. 

If I’m looking for a particular product, and I can see there are well-established brands that have paid a fortune to develop that brand, and buying the branded product means paying a higher price as I’m also paying for their advertising costs, I’ll look at less expensive brands too – however I’ve come to realize over the years that sometimes saving a few quid doesn’t always make sense and that the old saying “buy right or buy twice” is truly very good advice.

This is also why I like buying from Amazon although, if I do buy something and quickly realize I’ve brewed a blunder, it’s so easy to return it and correct that mistake!

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Size & Weight:

17 x 5 cm. 450 Grams

Beans Capacity:



Stainless steel 38mm burrs

My Observations:

This is in fact a truly nice looking hand mill, and it’s among a few relatively affordable hand grinders (more to come below) which appear to be based on (at least when it comes to looks) the very popular (and not so inexpensive…) Comandante hand grinders. 

It has 38mm steel burrs, the same size burrs as you’ll get in the likes of the Sage Smart Grinding machine Pro, and the same size as some other popular hand grinders including the Made by Knock Aergrind, and just 1mm smaller than the burrs found in the Comandante grinders.

I truly like the look of the wooden knob, that’s probably more comfortable than utilizing some of the hand grinders with small plastic knobs. 

I likewise basically like the look of the little travel case this grinder neatly slots into. For the cost, this isn’t a bad shout at all in my modest opinion.

If you like this kind of Comandante style design of hand grinder, holster your debit card for now, as there are a couple more for just a few quid extra a little further on in this perfect hand grinders article that has, even more, going for them, for not all that much more cash.

Click here to see other available colours

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Size & Weight:

16 x 5.2 cm. 430  Grams


Stainless steel 38mm burrs

Beans Capacity:


My Observations

This is another one of the relatively low cost coffee grinders which appear to be based on the Comandante, at least in design. 

38mm steel burrs again, 5g more single grind capacity than the Normcore.

The manufacturer claims that they’ve minimised fines and improved grind uniformity with burr blades (or teeth) in 55-58HRC hardness in 5-axis CNC machining. Also, they’ve crafted grinding easier  & smoother with the bearings fitted.

So this mill appears to talk the talk. I’ve not tried it, so I can’t confirm it walks the walk, but it has some ideal reviews.

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The Porlex Mini is an really popular grinding machine, particularly one of coffee loving nomads, or just Aeropress owners who like to brew coffee when they’re out & about.

The mini literally fits inside the Aeropress, meaning you can pack it that way, which comes in handy for space saving when you’re out and about with it (although it’s not the only manual grinding machine with this feature). 

Size & Weight:

15 x 9.2 x 5.4 cm. 310 Grams



Beans Capacity:


My Observations

The Porlex Mini is a truly popular grinding machine among Aeropress users, it’s been around rather some time, and although I’ve never had one, my opinion of these grinders, based purely on reputation, is that they’re well built and long lasting grinders for the price, and that the newer version is crafted to last longer, being brewed to avoid an issue which could happen after a while with the original version – rounding off of the handle mount. 

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The bigger sibling of the Porlex mini II, the tall is capable of grinding 30g in one go vs 20g with the mini.

Size & Weight:

 19.5 x 8.6 x 5.3 cm. 400 Grams

Beans Capacity:




My Observations

There’s not a wonderful deal to say about the Porlex mini vs the Porlex tall, other than the tall is taller 😉 and that it can grind more in one go.

The grind capacity of the mini is 20g vs 30g for the tall. The tall is the same diameter as the mini, so it will still fit in the Aeropress, nevertheless it’s 5.5cm taller. 

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Size & Weight:

13.86cm x 4.6cm. 385g

Beans Capacity:



420-grade stainless steel, 38mm.

My Observations

The Q2, as its bigger brother the JX series that I’ll discuss shortly, is an exceptionally smart looking hand mill! 

With stainless burrs, and an Aluminium alloy body, we’re getting into some good quality materials with this grinding machine, and again a similar design at least visually to the Comandante.

This grinding machine has 30 grind adjustments, and a dual bearing shaft, and is designed to be extremely quickly & basically taken apart for cleaning.

If you’re fairly serious about your coffee, nevertheless not rather serious enough to spend over double the cost on the aforementioned Comandante coffee grinder, I do think the Q2 and the JX (coming up shortly) are grinders that you should consider. 

Aergrind by Brewed by Knock.

Aergrind by Made by Knock.

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This is another coffee mill very popular paired with the Aeropress as with the Porlex Mini. 

The aergrind by Knock, invented by Peter Kilpatrick, was launched via an very successful Kickstarter campaign in March 2017 and has had the majority of praise by users.

Knock started off with their hugely popular mill, Hausgrind, and then brought out a portable hand coffee mill called the Feldgrind, which is also really popular.

Peter then decided a better, more portable hand coffee mill was required to pair with Aeropress, and aergrind was born. 

Size & Weight:

13.6cm  x 4.6cm. 330g

Beans Capacity:



38mm Specially repaid Nerost Black Steel

My Observations

I’ve got this grinding machine, as I said earlier I don’t use manual grinders much, definitely not because I’m lazy, honest guv, however I’ve struggled with my wrists for years.

I’m a drummer, as I mentioned earlier, and I play guitar (badly), I type a lot, obviously, and I used to do kickboxing too, I think it all got a bit too much for my wrists. They’re not too bad these days but I do have to watch it, I feel the RSI starting to flare up again occasionally. 

But I’ve used this coffee grinder, as I wanted to get hold of one and have a go with it, given that it’s among the really small number of things coffee-related been manufactured in the UK, I thought it would be rude of me not to try it. 

It did take me ages to get hold of one, as Made by Knock are a victim of their own success, I think most the time they struggle to meet the demand, which is a good problem to have, I suppose.

It’s clearly a really well made manual grinder. It’s fairly quick, it’s one of the nicer manual grinders to utilize in terms of how it feels in the hand when grinding, and it’s easy to dial in the grind. It’ll go fine enough for espresso too, I’ve managed to choke a Sage Bambino Plus with it, so that’s an exceptionally fine grind.

I think if you’re looking for a portable hand grinder for work with with the Aeropress (the handle slips off and fits in the rubber sleeve) I do think the Aergrind is a good choice for the dosh. 

Aeropress Review

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Size & Weight:

15.8cm x 5.7cm. 650g

Beans Capacity:



304-Grade Stainless steel, 48mm.

My Observations

This is the smaller of two manual grinders in this range, the JX. The Jx Pro is below, and that one is worth looking at especially if you’re looking for a manual coffee grinder for espresso coffee.

With 48mm steel burrs, this is a serious hand coffee mill. This is the same size burrs as the OE Lido, an very highly regarded and much more expensive manual coffee grinder.

As its mildly smaller brother the Q2, it’s made from decent materials, stainless steel, Alumnium alloy & the wooden handle – and with the handle design & the big burrs, this is going to grind coffee quite a little quicker than most the other manual grinders referred to on this page. 

Extremely have a read through some of the Amazon reviews, including the one from an engineer who has owned five other manual grinders. This guy rates this as the best manual coffee grinder by far, and refers to effortless and fast grinding. 

Many of the other Amazon reviews are along similar lines, generally praise for the build quality and for how easy and fast to grind it is. 

If you do a little bit of science about this grinder – or don’t bother, as I’ve already done it for you 🙂 – you’ll mainly end up with the impression that this is a heck of most manual grinding machine for the price, given that it’s just over half the price of the Comandante C40. 

Dave Corby’s review of this mill, below, is well worth a watch. He’s reviewed this one, and the pro version, and if you’re not familiar with Dave Corby, he’s an expert on coffee grinders and espresso machines, manufacturers consult with him when they’re developing stuff, and rely on his expertise to tell them how to make their products work better, so this is a guy whose opinion is worth listening to.

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Size & Weight:

18cm x 5.7cm. 780g

Beans Capacity:



304-Grade Stainless steel, 48mm.

My Observations

So this is the “pro” version of the JX, above. The pro is a little taller, 18cm tall vs 15.8 tall – and the grind adjustment on the pro is on the top vs the JX with the adjustment underneith.

The main difference, even though, is that the pro has double the grind adjustments, meaning that it simply has half step adjustments allowing you to more finely fix the grind. 

The JX has grind adjustments at 25 microns per click, while it’s 12.5 per click for the Pro, so this will just allow you to finely tune more when dialing in. If you’re looking for a manual grinding machine for pourover, for example, you’re possibly not going to be as interested in this finer adjustment.

This is a meaty grinder, as Dave Corbey puts it in his YouTube review. At 780g, you wouldn’t want to drop it on your foot! ;-). 

Perfect Manual Coffee Grinders in the UK – Conclusion

So there we have it, what I believe to be the perfect manual coffee grinders right now, from the extremely cheapest up to some of the best premium or “prosumer” manual coffee grinders.

There are a couple of other grinders that I’d like to include here. 

One of them is the Comandante C40. I make references to this grinding machine, however I’m not including it at the moment as it seems to be extremely scarcely available in the UK truly now, and the only listing I can find for it on Amazon appears to be a UK seller trying to charge over double the RRP. 

Another is the Orphan Espresso Lido grinders. As with the Comandante, these grinders are really popular one of the more serious home baristas.

But I can’t find anyone in the UK with stock, and I don’t want to annoy people by telling them about this fantastic grinding machine that they can’t get from anywhere. 

If this changes with either or both of the above, I’ll add these grinders to this article in the future.

Before I sign off though, I’ll basically address a few common questions about manual coffee grinders.

How do you fix manual coffee grinders?

This will depend on the particular grinder, they’ll all have some form of adjustment, whether that’s just an adjustment nut or wheel & whether there are numbered adjustments will depend on which grinding machine you’ve got. What you’ll need to do first is find your zero position, in other words, find the point at which the burrs are as close together as they’ll possibly go. If your coffee mill has markings from fine to course, in the form of sized dots or numbers, you’ll discover this immediately – if not you’ll just have to do some experimenting to figure out where the zero point is.

This video shows you how to troubleshoot the Hario Skerton manual coffee mill, and you’ll probably find it’s the same on similar style manual grinders:

The video below shows you how to fix the Brewed By Knock aergrind, and this will also show you how to fix their other manual grinders:

This video will show you how to fix the 1Z Presso JX & JX Pro

What is the perfect manual grinder? 

Hopefully, by this point, you’ve got a much better idea of which manual coffee mill might be the perfect for you, however best is a subjective thing – there isn’t a “best” as such. 

I in reality think that when people are searching for something this way, generically searching for what is the perfect <whatever>, it shows that they’re probably not at a point that they fully learn exactly what it is they’re looking for. For example, let’s say you’re looking to buy a car – would you search for the best car? I don’t think you would, due to the fact that you probably discover enough about cars and what you want from them to allow you to search for far more specific things.

If you’re searching for the best portable manual mill for Aeropress for example, that to me says you in reality find out what you’re looking for – and that’s a quite simple issue to address, the brewed by Knock Aergrind above or the Porlex mini ii are mainly regarded as one of the perfect portable hand grinders for Aeropress.

If you’re searching for the perfect manual grinding machine for espresso coffee, again this is a much more detailed question so it’s easier to respond to. When it comes to espresso coffee what I’d be looking at is the size of the burrs (the larger the burr size suggests the less time you’ll be grinding for, as finer espresso coffee grinding takes longer), the number of grind settings (to allow you to more finely tune the grind, which is more important for espresso coffee), and I’d be looking for video reviews from people who’re showing the coffee mill being used for espresso coffee, like the video above showing Dave Corbey pulling a shot he’s actually surprised by, with the 1ZPresso JX Pro. 

If what you’re in fact after is the perfect cheap manual coffee grinder, meaning that you’re just looking at the best bang for your buck, then the first few grinders I speak about above may be exactly what you’re after, nevertheless I would advise that you figure out first, exactly what you need from the grinding machine as well as affordability.

For example, if you’re wanting the cheapest preference possible nevertheless you’re wanting a super fine grind, fast grinding (so bigger burrs), and fine tuning, you may be expecting too much from a hand grinding machine at the money you’re looking at spending, so you may need to attack the piggy bank.

How to clean a manual coffee mill?

In my modest opinion, as long as you don’t utilize anything wet – like water, which is usually fairly wet… you can’t extremely go wrong. With some manual grinders, it’s just a case of taking them to their the majority of coarse setting and giving the burrs a brush, even though with a lot of you can take them apart easily and give the burrs a basically good clean – actually make sure you keep a note of how it goes back together and make sure you don’t lose any bits!

I did this with among my electric coffee grinders, recently – generally due to the reality that I’m a complete pillock. I took my Niche Zero apart to clean it, took the burrs out,  and then I tipped it upside down into the compost and slapped it on the backside, to knock as lots of of the bits out before I continued cleaning it. I forgot I’d done that, and then spent about an hour scratching my head & wondering what had happened to the springs, which were now in the very early stages of biodegrading ;-). Don’t fret, I retrieved them.

The one no-no is water, please don’t dunk your mill in water or put it in the dishwasher. If you have a Google for your brand or a similar brand, you’ll find loads of videos on YouTube showing you how to disassemble, clean, and reassemble manual coffee grinders, like this one on the Timemore C2:

How long does it take to grind using a manual mill?

How long is a piece of string? Ha! ;-). The respond to to that, by the way, is half its length times two. Joking apart, this will depend, primarily on how much coffee you want to grind, how fine or coarse you want to grind it, and the size of the burrs.

Grinding coarse for espresso or large batch filter brewing for example will take the least amount of time per gram, while grinding fine for espresso will take a lot longer. Dave Corbey shares in his video review of the 1ZPresso JX Pro that it took him about 30 seconds to grind 17 grams for a double shot of espresso. It took me basically over a minute to grind 18g utilizing the Brewed by Knock Aergrind for espresso coffee. How long it’ll take with other grinders will depend on the size of the burrs, how much you’re grinding and how finely you’re grinding.

How long do manual grinders last for?

Much longer than electric coffee grinders! Among the fantastic things about manual coffee grinders is that they’re very modest, there’s very little in the way of complicated parts that may break at any time. With electric grinders, there’s so much more that can go wrong with them, issues with the electrics, issues with the motor, issues with the gearing & so on – and this isn’t the case at all with good old fashioned manual grinders. 

Literally, even though I’ve said a couple of times that I don’t tend to use manual grinders – I have loads of them ;-), I really have a little bit of a collection of older manual grinders, they date back to the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, and most them still work…

OK, this isn’t to say those hand grinders you buy now are crafted to last rather this long, but in reality, in some cases, I think they’ll possibly last even longer, as many the original manual grinders were brewed with wooden housings, that tend to be the weakest link, and lots of of the a lot of popular manual grinders these days are made from metal or hard-wearing plastic.

You may think that all burrs will wear, regardless of whether they’re hand-powered or electric powered, and that’s true, the burrs in manual hand grinders will wear over time – nevertheless they’re likely to wear much less than burrs in electric machines, as they’re put under a lot less worry when they’re hand powered. 

The hand power vs electric power is one of the main reasons manual grinders will last so long, not basically because it’s easier on the burrs, nevertheless it’s easier on everything. When something breaks in an electric mill, it’s usually due to the fact that something happens thanks to the power of the motor.

For example, an under roasted bean or a pebble, or a random piece of copper (which caused a bit of a mess in one of my grinders a while back, no idea where that came from!) can jam the burrs, and the power of the motor will force them to keep going, leading to something having to give – often it’s a weak cog that gives, which is basically put in to act similar to a fuse so that this affordable part breaks instead of something which would be more costly to replace. 

When you’re manually grinding, if something like this happens, you’re unlikely to have the power to break the coffee grinder, and as you’re always single dosing with manual grinders (obviously they don’t have hoppers) you’re far more likely to notice a foreign object in your hand as you’re loading it into the grinder anyway.

Why do some manual grinders cost so much more than others?

When you look through the grinders above, you may be confused as to how there can be such a massive difference between the cheapest and the most expensive grinders, and the simple address to that is, that you get what you pay for.

Again, I think this issue originates from a little bit of a lack of understanding or grasp of a particular product, and that’s not a put down of any sort.

Let’s work with cars again as an analogy. The majority of us are fully aware of the fact that there is a huge price range when it comes to cars, so most us wouldn’t be surprised to find that you can buy a brand new car for under ten grand, or you could buy one for twenty grand, thirty grand, even a couple of hundred grand if you like.

However when it comes to more specialized products, we’re often just not well versed enough with those products to know why some cost so much more than others. I’ve had a similar thing recently with video and audio equipment for my YouTube studio.

Nearly all of the gear I’ve purchased over the past year or so while doing my perfect to enhance the quality of my videos has given me a similar headache in that there’s usually a massive price range, and I don’t know enough about that stuff to understand why I might want to spend three or four times the cost on one product vs another.

I think we all appreciate that there is a range of choice of materials, and this will impact on the price. You’ll notice that the cheapest grinders above are made with the cheapest materials, so that’s one thing – and when it comes to the main body of the grinding machine, this doesn’t basically impact the performance. What you can’t see or feel, even though, is the burrs – and burr quality will make a difference, and these can vary in cost, hugely.

This is the same with electric grinders, some of the more costly electric grinders have burr sets which cost more at wholesale than some of the cheaper electric grinders cost at retail, so this offers an indication as to the huge range available when it comes to burr quality. The better the burrs, the better particle uniformity you’ll get, mainly, and this will lead to better-tasting coffee. 

The size of the burrs is part of it, bigger burrs tend to cost more, even though size isn’t everything – I once heard someone say. Bigger burrs implies fewer revolutions essential, and less time and effort essential when manually grinding coffee beans.

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This article first of all appeared at Coffee Blog – The UK Specialty Coffee Blog – For Lovers of GENUINE Coffee!